« MSA Manitoba University annual conference. | Main | Buddha by Karen Armstrong »

Monday, 22 May 2006


Fatima Barkatulla

That was very interesting ma sha Allah. Whenever I hear stories of people being convinced to take their shahadahs it always ignites in me the desire to try and convince people to accept Islam. At the moment I have 3 or four people who I'm in regular contact with and am able to do regular da'wah with and am steadily doing so insha Allah...but I wish I knew the formula to get them to the point I want them to be at...I suppose I must accept that it is Allah who will determine the result and their is no infallible formula to da'wah. I have watched and listened to many du'aat (yourself, Khalid Yasin, the other da'wah in the park people, Shabbir Ali etc.) and tried to adopt the strategies I've seen you use. But I'm a bit stuck on da'wah to Jewish people. I have a Jewish Rabbi (female from the reform side of things) who I get on with well and is becoming a friend of mine. We've met a few times...she was involved in interfaith and wanted to talk to Muslim Women...I happened to be around that day in the Mosque and spoke to her about the Prophet Abraham (alaihis salam) and his wife Hagar and how the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was a direct descendent of Ismail. About our love and reverence for all of the Prophets. She said she found our love for the Prophets very moving. (Probably cos she thinks of them as Jewish Prophets.) I mentioned to her about our position with regard to the books of the past and about how they had been changed and so Allah sent the Qur'an. She agreed that the Old Testament was not the literal word of God. And said that she feels we all have glimmers of the truth and it would be very dishonest to say that any of us had THE truth!!(??) I said but God would guide us and not just leave us without guidance. And we invited her back for a Hajj talk I was going to give at the Mosque to a small group of sisters. It was about the story behind Hajj. She came back with two other Jewish ladies. I bought Kosher cakes for them as gifts and gave them to them. They seemed pleased and surprised. What I found surprising was that when I talked about the word 'Islam' and 'submission to God' and said that Ibrahim, Moses and all of the Prophets submitted to God and were therefore Muslims...she was sort of nodding in agreement and was surprised at finding out the meaning of the words Islam and Muslim, and agreed that by that definition the Prophets were Muslim. She doesn't believe that the Jews have a monopoly on God's guidance, because I posed the question to her...'do you believe that God sent Prophets to different nations at different times, to non-Jews as well?' She said yes.
She recently told me that she has had to leave the synagogue and is unemployed!!! (Sounds like problems at the synagogue.) She is not friendly with everyone there I feel. I said I wanted to be friends with her not because she is a Rabbi but because I like her...she is a very likeable person. She said she would like to be my friend too. Now where do I go from here? The fact that she is a Rabbi intimidates me a little...because I haven't been able to find books like 'Muslim Christian dialogue' for da'wah with Jews...do I meet up with her for coffee and then talk to her about Jesus (alaihis salaam) because after all they have to accept him to become Muslims or do I just go straight up and talk more about Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Please give me some good things to say to Jews of this kind. She told me the reform Jewish movement is non orthodox, have more rights for women, no segregation of the sexes, care more about the Palestinians rights etc. I don't really know where to go from here....

ARG comment:
In my opinion you should get her read the Quran and a life history of the Prophet Mohammed. Once she read these she will know without doubt that it is from Allah, and that Mohammed is the Messenger. Then its really about letting her know that if she wants to chage you'll be there to support her in that.
The rest is really up to her. In the end she has to make the descision. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
I never like to think of myself as trying to convert people. Our task it to lead them to the truth, even encourage them, and make it easy for them to accept. We can even spend zakat money on non Muslims to soften their hearts and make it easier for them to accept Islam, but in the end Allah guides whom He wants. Sometimes there is nothing more that you can do, and even trying to do more can drive some people further away. So it important to understand that. It certainly can be hard to find a balance between being too pushy and not being encouraging enough even for experienced diaees.

Fatima Barkatulla

That sounds like a good move. Jazakallahu Khairan. Yes, you're right about being pushy and trying to 'convert' people and how it is hard to strike the balance. I think if we are sincere in wanting good for them and not just being patronising and fake it will come across, and there is a lot to be said for just showing good character as well. You hit the nail on the head with the 'balance between being too pushy and not being encouraging enough.' I often feel I am not being encouraging enough because I don't get the time to meet up with these people much, so when I do meet them, I want to give them something that is as effective as possible...also, when you meet someone for a bit at a time...you and they can forget the point at which you were and I feel I miss out certain things which were important to cover to complete the picture.
We have something precious that we want to share with everyone and we want good for all people...if we really believe that I think it comes through in the da'wah. By the way...which Qur'an translation do you feel is the best for giving to people. I try to avoid the ones that say 'Do not take the Jews and Christians as friends' as I feel that that is always misunderstood by those who read it. Please suggest the best Seerah and best translation of the Qur'an to give to non-Muslims.

ARG comment:
Yes, but I'm not sure which translation words it differently. I'm quite a fan of the revised Yusuph Ali, if you can get it.
As for Seerah, despite some serious problems it has to be Martin Lings for sheer readability.

Fatima Barkatulla

I've got two Yusuf Ali ones...do you mean the one which is really thick and heavy, navy blue hardback cover, revised with commentary? Because I've got a new Yusuf Ali one which is a basic translation in paperback without any commentary.

ARG comment:
either of them, but the massive one might seem too daunting, or on the other hand it might seem impressive! As long as you make it clear that most of the text are footnotes, and that the main text is not that huge. Also the footnotes can in fact be very helpful.


For anyone who was interested in your lectures in Winnipeg, there available to download at http://www.miaonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=90
Jazakallah for comming again.


Are there any concise books of sira you would recommend?

ARG comment: hat depends on who its for, but I suggest Ar Raheeq al Makhtum, the sealed Nectar by Sariur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri

Fatima Barkatulla

Problem with Martin Lings Seerah....doesn't it say that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam destroyed all the idols in the Ka'bah except one of Jesus and Mary alaihimas salaam?? Which is totally untrue, and from a monotheist Jewish perspective (seeing as I want to give the book to a Jewish Rabbi, wouldn't that make you doubt Muhammad sallallahu alihi wa sallam somewhat as he didn't destroy all of the idols according to Lings biography? Ar Raheequl Makhtoom is very accurate and thorough Masha Allah but because it has been translated from Arabic...it isn't in a beautiful style of English, which the seerah should be in. I do wish there was an authentic but well written seerah available. Maybe it's time someone wrote another seerah...

ARG comment: Yes! And he refers to the belief that Ibrahim sacraficed Ismeal (as opposed to Isaac) as an arab tradition, and other matters. I crossed out the offending lines when I gave the book to my Dad. But I recon that people reading this biography will not notice such details, and even they do, thay can be explained inshallah.

Fatima Barkatulla

By the way. Have your parents embraced Islam? May Allah guide them and us.


Lots of specialists claim that loan aid a lot of people to live their own way, because they are able to feel free to buy necessary things. Moreover, some banks give short term loan for different persons.

ARGcomment: There is a principle in Islam and that if greater and lesser evil. Everything contains some harm and some benefit. There may some benefit in bank loans etc..but the harm if far greater. There are other ways to help finance people without exploiting them, for example profit sharing!

The comments to this entry are closed.